There is no mistaking the power of user generated content on the web. If anything can be said to have a ‘buzz’ around it these days, it’s because people are tweeting about it, or otherwise talking about it on social media or their blogs. User generated content is becoming more and more used in marketing, too, as it is a fact that potential customers are far more willing to trust the average person recommending or endorsing something, than some carefully chosen marketing words.
Thanks to platforms like StoryStream, if you have content related to your business coming out all over the web, on things like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube,you can find it and include it in your own brand story. However, how do you encourage your customers to create content about you in the first place?
User Generated Content Does Not Come About By Chance
You may have a very small minority of people who are so delighted with what you do that they create content about it just off of their own backs. This could be someone from the office across the street tweeting about the awesome lunch they got from your sandwich shop, for example. These events are worth a lot as they are rare and completely unsolicited, but if you want to really make the most of content created by users, you need to encourage it, and reward it with something.
What – Aside From Money or Prizes – Incentivizes People To Create Content?
There are several reasons why people create any kind of content, let alone promoting brands, and you can try to harness these as well as getting to more obvious means or encouragement like offering actual prizes or monetary rewards.
The first, is that they like to post things that reinforce their own image. Just as your company tries to keep everything they post ‘on message’ when it comes to your brand, so do people. If your brand or product is one people with certain personal identities relate to, this may make people feel like by posting about it, they are further reinforcing the way they want people to see them. This works best if your brand or product is especially trendy, environmentally friendly, exclusive and high end, or exotic or artisanal. People with strong leanings in any of those directions will want people to know they are using products that fit that frame.
Attention Is Often the Best Reward
As well as reinforcing ‘personal brands’, users quite often create content in the hope of attracting some attention. If they have done something creative, they may want to show the world, or they may simply want the person or company they are talking about to notice them and reply, follow them, or thank them for their mention.
By targeting the people most likely to see your brand as a part of their own image, and rewarding all user generated content with plenty of recognition and response, you can do a lot to encourage it, and this can be very helpful to your brand marketing.